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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Law Firm Taglines

Law firms, like any other business, have slogans and taglines to advertise themselves.  Recently, the legal blog Stem collected 101 Law Firm Taglines from firms all over the world.  There are several varied approaches.  What do you think is important in a law firm catchphrase?  You want it to inspire trust and confidence of course, but does humor add or detract from a slogan?  The Harris Beach slogan (“Lawyers you’ll swear by. Not at.”) is pretty irresistible, but does it bring in people charmed by the wit, or deter people who want their lawyers to be serious?  Take a look at the list and see which ones you like. You might also take a look at the Legal Blog Watch entry, where Bruce Carton selects his list of the most memorable.

The Witching Hour

Halloween: a time of witches, brooms, cats, and trick-or-treating!  While you are happily gathering up your candy, spare a thought for the innocent (numbering many thousands) who were hunted, arrested, and persecuted for practicing witchcraft during Early Modern Europe (1480-1700). 

The current exhibit on display at the library entrance features a famous English witch trial (held in Bury St. Edmunds, 1662) which was to become influential and referenced in the renowned American Salem witch trials. The trial involved the prosecution of two Lowestoft women in the bewitching of several children. The children suffered fits, lameness, vomited nails and pins, and complained that the two defendants were witches. The major trial personages could have come straight out of a page of Who Was Who – Judge: Sir Matthew Hale (Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer and future Lord Chief Justice of England); Justice of the Peace: Sir Edmund Bacon; Serjeant-at-law: Sir John Kelyng (future Chief Justice of the King’s Bench); Expert witness: Sir Thomas Browne (author and physician).

While researching this trial, I became incredibly impressed by the wealth of primary and secondary sources held at Indiana University. The Lilly Library houses several fascinating treatises on witchcraft and have kindly lent their copy of the trial report for the exhibit. On a personal note, several generations of my family have lived in Lowestoft. So, if you would like to learn more about witchcraft bibliography and England, feel free to drop by the Circulation Office for a chat!

Royalties on the Radio

Radio is a pretty common part of our everyday lives.  Even if you don’t go out of you way to listen to it you are likely to catch a bit here and there in stores and restaurants.  Radio gives us news, humor, and music.  Traditionally, they don’t pay artists and record labels for that music.  Two years ago, the Performance Rights Act of 2007 was introduced in Congress.  Its goal is to make sure that artists and labels get royalties when their songs are played on the radio.  About the same time, various artists formed a group called musicFIRST to promote the bill.  Radio stations, understandably, are not in favor of the bill.  It is estimated that approximately one third of minority owned stations would be driven out of business.  Stations have refused to run advertisements put together by musicFIRST, and some are even refusing to play songs by artists associated with the coalition.  Both sides are claiming that their First Amendment rights are in question—the artists to be heard, and the broadcasters to control their own radio stations.  The artists are currently asking the FCC to step in.  What do you think?  Radio stations argue that they provide much needed exposure for artists, and may not be able to manage the extra costs.  On the other hand, artists point out that they should receive compensation for their work. For more information, take a look at the recent article.

Top Legal Blogs

It’s that time again—time to vote for your favorite blawg on the ABA Journal’s list of the top 100 legal blogs.  Is there a particular blawg that you just can’t live without?  One that gives you all the right information and commentary?  If there is, the ABA Journal wants to know about it.  Tell them why your favorite blawg deserves to be in their top 100 Blawgs for 2009 in 500 characters or less, and they just might add it to the list.  You can fill out the form here.  You can also check out last year’s top 100 Blawgs if you need inspiration.

Happy Constitution Day and Citizenship Day!

The United States Constitution was signed exactly 222 years ago today.  So on this day, we celebrate both this important document, and all the people who have become American citizens.  Constitution Day is celebrated with presidential statements, laws, and lesson plans each year.  This year you can celebrate by learning more about Constitution Day from the Library of Congress website, or by finding out which Founding Father you most resemble at the National Constitution Center’s website.

Weight Loss and Workers’ Compensation

Indiana has been in legal news recently because of the case of Adam Childers, an overweight man who has requested weight-loss surgery as part of a workers’ compensation claim.  Childers, a chef in a pizzeria, was hit in the back with a freezer door a few years ago, and was advised by his doctor that before any surgery to correct the back injury could be effective, he would need to lose some weight.  The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the pizzeria should pay for both operations. This mirrors an Oregon case in which an employee needed weight loss surgery before a knee replacement would be effective. Some are worried that this trend will make employers less likely to hire people with weight problems. Others feel that extra medical requirements are part of the responsibility of any employer, and are not specific to overweight employees.  What do you think?  More can be found on, or at the Indiana Law Blog.

Lawyers and Social Networking

We’ve talked about it before, but it always bears repeating—be careful what you put online for the world to see.  This is especially important in a profession like law.  It is actually a relatively small world—your current classmates will remember if you are the one constantly involved in flame wars over student e-mails, and they will remember if you always had a Facebook status indicating that you blew off studying.  It is the same in the legal world.  A recent New York Times article talks about several cases in which lawyers got in hot water for blogging, Facebooking, and tweeting about, cases, clients, judges, and other lawyers.  Make sure that the information you put out for the world to see is really information that you want to be seen.

A Popular Court

Both the Volokh Conspiracy and the Law Librarian Blog are reporting on the latest from the Gallup Poll—the U.S. Supreme Court is inspiring confidence.  According to Gallup, not only is the Court the most trusted branch of government, but people also feel that it does a good job, and that it hits the correct ideological tenor.  How do you feel the Court is doing?

Law in Middle-earth

As popular as the three Lord of the Rings movies have been, it’s not surprising that they have generated several legal arguments.  Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema had a few skirmishes, but more recently, New Line has been in hot water with the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien.  The estate claims that they received only an advance payment of $62,500, and are still due to get 7.5% of all the profits, which are sizable.  A significant portion of that money would go to the Tolkien Trust, a charitable organization that manages the late author’s estate.  The lawsuit was brought last year, and it has been looking for some time as though it would go to trial.  The estate and New Line finally reached an agreement this week.  The details aren’t yet public, but maybe the most important thing for the general public is that New Line is now able to start work on a two-part version of The Hobbit. If you would like to know more, you can read the Associated Press article about the settlement, or you can look at an American Lawyer article published this summer that goes a little into the details of why the estate hadn’t been paid.

Legal Rebels

A few months ago, the ABA Journal posted a Legal Rebels Manifesto.  The idea was a commitment to innovation in the legal profession. They have also been profiling legal rebels, and last week our own Professor Henderson was added to the list.  The article talks about Prof. Henderson’s empirical approach to the legal profession.  He has been studying the business side of law schools and firms.  If you are interested in learning more about his work you might want to take a look at the two blogs he edits—Empirical Legal Studies and the Legal Profession Blog.

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